Cutting, burning, branding, and bone-breaking are all types of self-injury, or the deliberate, non-suicidal destruction of one's own body tissue, a practice that emerged from obscurity in the 1990s and spread dramatically as a typical behavior among adolescents. Long considered a suicidal gesture, The Tender Cut argues instead that self-injury is often a coping mechanism, a form of teenage angst, an expression of group membership, and a type of rebellion, converting unbearable emotional pain into manageable physical pain.
Based on the largest, qualitative, non-clinical population of self-injurers ever gathered, noted ethnographers Patricia and Peter Adler draw on 150 interviews with self-injurers from all over the world, along with 30,000-40,000 internet posts in chat rooms and communiques. Their 10-year longitudinal research follows the practice of self-injury from its early days when people engaged in it alone and did not know others, to the present, where a subculture has formed via cyberspace that shares similar norms, values, lore, vocabulary, and interests. An important portrait of a troubling behavior, The Tender Cut illuminates the meaning of self-injury in the 21st century, its effects on current and former users, and its future as a practice for self-discovery or a cry for help.
Publisher: New York University Press
Number of pages: 264
Weight: 499 g
Dimensions: 229 x 153 x 23 mm
"Social, psychological and cultural insights abound in this recommendation for college-level health holdings."-The Midwest Book Review
"Adler and Adler's expansive work draws in and integrates multiple perspectives and addresses timely and important issues in the field of self-injury."-Stephen P. Lewis + Michele L. Davis,Contemporary Psychology
"Timely, important...In their thorough treatment of the subject, the authors include a history and literature review of this difficult topic, discussions of case histories, and examinations of relational dynamics and social contexts that may lead to cutting...This is a must read for those connected in any way to this topic." -Library Journal
"The Tender Cut is an exhaustive, compelling...sociological study."-Metapsychology
"But more than a compendium of personal accounts, The Tender Cut charts self-injury's shift from a behavior regarded as pathological and practiced by demonstrably mentally ill to a more widely accepted coping mechanism and a vehicle for the assertion of will or identity...thought-provoking books sheds a many-rayed light on a topic often shrouded in darkness."-Haili Jones Graff,Bitch Magazine
"successfully gives a face to self-injury and how it fits into the larger realm of social understating"-J Youth Adolescence
"Insightful and sympathetic...The extraordinary depth of knowledge of the dimensions of self-injuring will increase the understanding of those who see self-injurers in their work and private lives." -Ruth Horowitz,author of Honor and the American Dream: Culture and Identity in a Chicano Community
"The Tender Cut presents a comprehensive discussion of self-injury through a sociological lens...[it] will be...relevant to other people providing support and advice to people who self-harm."-Emily Klineberg,Sociology of Health & Illness